Delegate of the Week

Steffanie Munguia      
Florida International University

A natural-born leader, Steffanie Munguia began her journey as a public speaker at the age of ten. When her father was unable to lead a scheduled presentation, she found herself filling in to present in front of a large audience of fourth-grade students. Steffanie describes the experience as “terrifying but invigorating and addictive.” Similarly, her love for environmental science developed at a young age, as a result of weekend camping trips with her parents at local state parks. She notes, “At my core, I am still that same five-year-old girl walking in the muck looking for animals. I think we are all born with an innate curiosity for nature. I just never grew out of it.”

This same curiosity and love for nature led Steffanie to pursue a career in environmental science, and in 2016 she graduated from the University of South Florida with both a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science & Policy and a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Biology. After graduation, she continued her studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, where she obtained a Master of Arts in International Environmental Policy and a Certificate in Development, Planning, Management, & Innovation.

Having now completed over a dozen research projects, Steffanie is pursuing a Ph.D. in Earth Systems Science at Florida International University (FIU). At FIU, Steffanie currently works as a Teaching Assistant, creating lessons for undergraduate ecology students. Furthermore, Steffanie’s extracurricular activities have led to leadership positions in ten different student organizations throughout her academic career. Her passion for student outreach has also extended into many of her professional roles, such as Summer Camp Assistant, Student Coordinator, Peer Advisor, Program Assistant Coordinator, and Outreach Program Assistant.

Now a public speaker and environmental educator, Steffanie has combined her inherent love of nature with her talent for leadership. She explains, “It gives me an opportunity to instill that same wonder that I feel towards nature in people who have never given it much thought, and I consider that one of the greatest privileges I have had in my life.”

Looking for even more opportunities to help others, Steffanie began her involvement with Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) when she volunteered at a Viva Tech Program in April 2019. Soon after, she was selected to serve as a Delegate at the 2019 GMiS Conference. As a Hispanic student, Steffanie remarks on the importance of representation in STEM programs “Finding groups that actually embrace diversity and inclusion gives students like me a home to be ourselves and excel not because we fit the mold, but because we break it.” Her amazing accomplishments have truly set her apart as a role model and leader in the STEM community, and Great Minds in STEM proudly recognizes Steffanie as Delegate of the Week.

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